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Knockout blow 'Heavily intoxicated' boxer who hijacked taxi and assaulted driver is jailed for 10 months

Urging the court not to jail him, Mr Thompson said Murray “is due to have a boxing match [on March 19] he had a bit of talent in his younger days."

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Jamie Murray

Jamie Murray

Jamie Murray

An amateur boxer will have to miss a title bout later this month after he was jailed for hijacking a taxi and twice punching the driver to the ground.

Although Jamie Murray’s defence barrister urged the judge not to jail the 21-year-old, Judge Patrick Lynch QC said the offence was "beyond that approach" and that "it is a grave offence in itself" so he imposed a 20 month sentence, half of which is to be served in jail.

At an earlier hearing at Craigavon Crown Court Murray, whose address was given as c/o Eamon McAvoy solicitors on Church Place in Lurgan, entered guilty pleas to hijacking a car in that he seized control of it on 17 April last year “unlawfully by force or threat thereof,” the theft of a mobile phone, assaulting the taxi driver, driving a Hyundai i40 on Carrigart Manor in the town without insurance and with excess alcohol.

Opening the facts of the case today, prosecuting lawyer Joseph Murphy told the court how the taxi had collected a “heavily intoxicated” Murray and two women when he was asked to go to Carrigart Manor to drop Murray off but when the taxi entered the estate, he “opened the rear passenger door while the taxi was still moving.”

“The taxi driver told him he couldn't do that and stopped the car,” said Murphy adding that when the car went to drive off, Murray “threw a bottle in the direction of the car, which smashed, prompting the driver to get out and check for damage.”

The amateur boxer punched the driver to the ground for the first time and with the females trying to calm him down, Murray got into the drivers seat and began to slowly drive, wheels screeching as the automatic handbrake was still on.

When the driver was able to reach in and grab the keys, Murray grabbed his mobile phone before getting out of the car and punching the taxi driver to the ground for a second time.

Mr Murphy said this aspect of the incident had been captured on a mobile phone and showed one of the women lying across the top of the stricken taxi driver as Murray aimed kicks at the man’s head.

Murray was arrested. Local residents had intervened and restrained him until police arrived with a topless Murray telling cops: "You've got the wrong man".

While Murray said he couldn’t remember the incident, he told police during interviews that he would be pleading guilty and offered an apology to the victim.

The lawyer asks that as a result of the incident, the victim was left with a black eye, multiple scrapes to his face and a pain to his right arm and that his glasses, worth about £340, were badly damaged.

Mr Murphy revealed that Murray, has 24 previous convictions including one for assaulting a police officer just the day before the incident, on April 16.

He contended that aggravating features in the case involved an attack on a "public servant" as well as his relevant offences for assault and dishonesty, and that kicks were aimed at the taxi driver's head.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson submitted that it was "a bit of a ham-fisted hijacking" and that Murray "in a drunken haze...[has] obviously lost complete control of himself".

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"In terms of hijackings, this is pretty low in the pecking order," he said. "It's driven by a lack of of control rather than putting people in fear, intimidating them and then stealing a car."

Urging the court not to jail him, Mr Thompson said Murray “is due to have a boxing match [on March 19]; The positive of that, is that it is a channel for him to throw himself into.”

"He's got an amateur bout coming up which is for a title belt, which is something he's quite proud of and hopeful for".

Jailing Murray however Judge Lynch said the offences clearly crossed the custody threshold and that his record "does not paint a very attractive picture of the defendant."

Murray was also disqualified from driving for 15 months.

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